Basic Spiritual Primer 4.2 (Truth, Thought and Understanding)

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Part 2 of stage by stage description of the Realization of the Absolute. Superior to Fire is Ether, superior to Ether is Consciousness, Hope, Life, Truth, Faith and Right Activity that leads to Real Happiness and The Infinite.

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Basic Spiritual Primer 4.2 (Truth, Thought and Understanding)

  1. 1. Basic Spiritual Primer 4.2 (From Chandogya Upanishad, Sections 11 to 26) Chapter VII, Section 11 Fire (Heat)Subtler principles are always superior to the grosser ones, because they are morepervasive in character. Hence, if water is superior to the earth principle, fire is superiorto the water principle.VII-xi-1: ‘Fire surely is greater than water. It is this fire that having seized the air warms up the Akasa. Then people say, "It is hot, it is burning hot, it will surely rain". There, it is fire that shows itself first, and then creates water. It is (because of) this fire that thunders roll, along with lightning flashing upwards and across; and so people say, "Lightning is flashing, it is thundering, it will surely rain". There, it is fire that shows itself first and then creates water. Worship fire.VII-xi-2: ‘He who worships fire as Brahman, he, being resplendent himself, attains resplendent worlds, full of light and free from darkness. He becomes free to act as he wishes in the sphere within the reach of fire, he who worships fire as Brahman’. ‘Revered sir, is there anything greater than fire?’ ‘Surely, there is something greater than fire’. ‘Revered sir, communicate it to me’. “O Narada,” says the great master Sanatkumara, “the fire element is superior to thewater element which again is superior to all that has been said before, viz., name,speech, mind, will, memory, contemplation, understanding, strength and food.”Therefore, it is that heat, which is the function of fire, can dry up air and create suchan atmosphere of warmth in the whole space or sky that you will feel that air itself isnot present. In the atmosphere fire can intensify its function, so much so that theworking of air can appear to cease altogether. Then people say, “Oh, it is very hot,extremely hot, and intolerably hot.” They say, “It is going to rain.” When it becomesvery hot, we infer that perhaps it is going to rain.So, water comes after heat. First there is an intense burning in the air, and then watercomes. So, is the case with every other circumstance of intense heat? Whether it isoutward or inward, there is the production of the water principle on account of theintensity of the heat principle. Then we will have, in the atmosphere, as a result of thisheating up of the space and the air, lightning and thunderbolts from every direction.We begin to hear rumbling sounds from various quarters of the heavens, indicating thatit is about to rain, all of which is the work of the heating function of fire. Then it falls inthe form of rain.
  2. 2. So, prior to the principle of water in all its functions, is fire. In other words, fire;having manifested itself first, it expresses itself as water thereafter. Having recognizedthe superiority of fire as the cause of water and therefore subtler than water, one mustregard the fire principle as the Absolute, for the purpose of meditation.“So, is the case with air and space? Superior to the fire principle is the air principleand higher than that also is space which contains everything within itself. All theelements can finally be reduced to space. During the pralaya, the dissolution of theuniverse at the end, the whole world is supposed to get absorbed into space. Only akasaexists. Earth gets dissolved in water, water gets dried up by fire, fire gets extinguishedby air, and air is absorbed into space. So, finally, space is the ultimate visible reality,most comprehensive, very expansive, inclusive of everything, almost resemblingomnipresence, which one should now take as the object of one’s meditation.” ************ Chapter VII, Section 12 Ether (Akasa)VII-xii-1: Akasa surely is greater than fire. In Akasa, indeed, exist both the sun and the moon; lightning, stars and fire. Through Akasa one calls, through Akasa one hears, through Akasa one hears the response. In Akasa one rejoices, in Akasa one does not rejoice. In Akasa a thing is born, and towards Akasa it grows. Worship Akasa.The importance of space cannot be appreciated unless space exists. It is the primaryelement that is necessary for the existence of anyone. Everything comes from space asan effect. Sun and moon, stars and lightning and whatnot, everything is in theatmosphere on account of the presence of space. We hear things on account of space.Echoes are produced on account of space.Our pleasures and pains also are due to the presence of space. There would be noobjects at all, if there were no space. And if there are no objects, there would be noreaction from our side in respect of the objects. Then, there would be no experience atall, either of pleasure or of pain. So, enjoyment of every kind, and pleasure andsatisfaction of every kind, is due to the spatial distinction among things. When thereis sorrow, or even if there is absence of pleasure, it is due to the presence of space only.The peculiar location of the objects of sense in respect of the experiencing subject isthe cause of the pleasure or the pain of the subject which is due to the interveningelement, namely space. From space it is that everything comes. Things are born on
  3. 3. account of the existence of space. There would be no production of any kind withoutspace being present.An effect cannot be produced from a cause unless there is spatial distinction betweenthe two. Even the trees and plants rise up from the earth and grow on account of thepresence of space. So, we know what akasa or space is. It is so important. It is perhapsthe last conceivable object available to us in this world. Beyond that nothing is possiblefor the mind to think. That is the highest physical object available.“So, O Narada, now you take this akasa as the object of meditation, which is to bemeditated upon as the Absolute, beyond which nothing is. The unbounded space, theunlimited expanse of sky, the akasa is now the object of your meditation,” saysSanatkumara.VII-xii-2: ‘He who worships Akasa as Brahman, he indeed, attains vast worlds full of light, unconfined and spacious. He is free to act as he wishes in the sphere within the reach of Akasa, he who worships Akasa as Brahman’. ‘Revered sir, is there anything greater than Akasa?’ ‘Surely, there is something greater than Akasa’. ‘Revered sir, communicate it to me’.If we can expand our mind to the extent of space in meditation, to that extent will beour freedom, success and power in this world. Glorious would be the capacity of thatperson who can meditate in this manner. Luminosity would be the object of hismeditation, as space is luminous due to the presence of the sun. This person whomeditates on space will be illumined by the consciousness present therein. Unlimitedwould be the possession of this person, as space itself is unlimited, which is the object ofhis meditation. And unlimited would be his achievement who so meditates. As long asthere is space, so long is his success. To the extent of the presence of space, to that extentis his freedom. As far is space, so far is his freedom also. So, he will have unlimitedfreedom on account of this meditation on the unlimited space.Narada says: “Well, this is a grand thing, of course. I cannot think anything more thanspace. I wish to know whether space is the ultimate reality. Or, is there anythingbeyond space and greater than space?”“There is something beyond space. There is something without which even spacecannot be conceived. Why, for that matter, it cannot even exist without that. Spacewould be meaningless if that something which is superior to it does not exist,” repliesSanatkumara. “So there is something higher than space! What is that? Please instructme, O great master,” says Narada. ************
  4. 4. Chapter VII, Section 13 Consciousness (Smara)VII-xiii-1: ‘Memory surely is greater than Akasa. Therefore, even if many persons should assemble and if they should have no memory, they surely would not hear any sound, they would not think, they would not know. But surely, should they have memory, then they would hear, then they would think, then they would know. Through memory, indeed, one discerns one’s sons, through memory one’s cattle. Worship memory.Here, smara is a peculiar term which has been interpreted as the power ofconsciousness which is recognized as self-existence. Our consciousness of our ownexistence is prior to the operation of our consciousness of the recognition of spaceoutside us. We must exist first, if space is to be there.So, our consciousness of self-existence is prior to the determining factor of theconsciousness of this vast expanse that we call space. So, smara does not merely meana kind of memory which is the common meaning of the term. It is something superiorto it.This self-existence which we feel as identical with our own consciousness, which iswhat is meant by the word smara, is no doubt superior to space. If we ourselves arenot there, there is no question of space being there. Smara is therefore surely greaterthan akasa.If any person is there who has lost consciousness of his or her own existence, there isno question of space, no question of hearing or thinking, and no question ofunderstanding. No function of any kind worthwhile will be possible, if there is no self-consciousness. If we are not aware of our own existence, what is the good of thinkingabout space or fire or anything?So, our self-consciousness, the self-consciousness of everyone, is superior to space, andit is that which determines the character of space. Wherever there is the manifestationof this self-consciousness, the presence of I-hood, there arises every kind ofknowledge. There is thinking, there is understanding, there is hearing, and there desireoperates in ever so many ways. All our activity in life, whatever be the nature of thatactivity, is an offshoot of consciousness of our own existence. Minus that, the wholeworld is naught.VII-xiii-2: ‘He who worships memory as Brahman becomes free to act as he wishes in the sphere within the reach of memory, he who worships memory as Brahman’. ‘Revered sir, is there anything greater than memory?’ ‘Surely,
  5. 5. there is something greater than memory’. ‘Revered sir, communicate it to me’.This itself is a very superior type of meditation where you regard self-consciousnessas the object of meditation. Now, we are slowly turning from the objective to thesubjective side. We have to rise further up yet, to still higher levels which are dealt within the sections that follow in this chapter. A person who meditates in this manner onthe supreme self-consciousness prior to the perception of every kind of object, ofeven space itself, such a person is superior to that extent, and he has freedom to theextent of the realm of self-consciousness.This is a startling turning point in the process of meditation. Generally, we take allobjects of meditation as being outside us and located in space. We never for a momentimagine that objects have something to do with our own self-existence.The relationship between the consciousness of objects and the objects ofconsciousness escapes the notice of consciousness, so that we always take it forgranted that objects are independent, existing outside, as though hanging in space,unconnected with other things, including one’s own self. This is not true. That objectsare suspended in space independently, independent of even the consciousness oftheir existence, is not true. They have some connection. A correlativity of being ismanifested by all objects, and their nature, their character, their reaction is entirely inrelation to the nature, the location and the character of the subject perceiving orexperiencing them.This is a higher knowledge which is not available to the ordinary layman whoalways mistakes the objects for independent things outside, and depends on them,hangs on them, as if they are his support entirely, not knowing that he himself is thecontributory factor to their very existence and operation. So, to come to the inside fromthe outside, to the subjective from the objective, is a great achievement indeed, whichis not easily possible for ordinary people.Now at this stage, there is sudden shift of emphasis from the external to the internalwhen Sanatkumara says that self-consciousness is superior to everything that he hastold Narada up to this time, including space itself, which means to say the whole worldof externality.“But is there something superior to this smara, self-existence, and if so, may I knowabout it?” asks Narada. “Yes, there is something more than this also. This self-existenceof yours of which you are conscious is not the ultimate reality. It is also an effect ofsomething superior to it,” is the reply of the great master Sanatkumara. “What is that?Kindly condescend to instruct me about it,” prays Narada.
  6. 6. Chapter VII, Section 14 Hope (Aspiration, Asa)VII-xiv-1: ‘Aspiration surely is greater than memory. Kindled by aspiration, (one’s) memory recites the hymns, performs rites, desires sons and cattle, and desires this world and the next. Worship aspiration.That peculiar thing called smara, the self-awareness or self-existence mentioned inthe preceding section, is not complete in itself. Its very existence is dependent upon anurge that is present prior to it. We live on account of a kind of hope in our life. We donot live on account of our present experiences, merely. There is something within uswhich keeps us tied to this self-consciousness. And that is the desire for betterment ofour life in the future, here mentioned in this section of the Upanishad as asa, hope oraspiration. It is aspiration for self-transcendence.Our very existence is valuable only on account of the tendency present in self-consciousness to transcend itself into higher modes of being. We are happy in thisworld merely because of the hope that we will be happy tomorrow, not because we arehappy today. This desire is not visible outside. It is not a direct experience, but it isinvisibly working within us. Our desire to exist is a peculiar character in us. We cannotlogically argue out the reason behind our desire to exist. It is a supra-logical mystery.The desire or hope to exist, which is actually what Sanatkumara meant by saying asa, isnot a mere desire to exist as a body. People do not want to die. They want to continuetheir existence as long as possible. They pray for long life, but they do not understandwhat is actually meant by long life. It is not a desire to persist in this physical body.We are unconsciously asking for something whose nature is not clear to our ownminds. We are asking for a self-transcendent existence. It is not an existence in thislimited personality of ours.Who would like to be in this particular body only for a long time? Which part of ourlife would we like to perpetuate? Is it old age, young age, or childhood? We cannotsay that any particular part of our life is to be perpetuated. There is confusion in themind when we ask for long life. But, the hidden intention in our mind behind thisasking or desiring for long life is that we want to perpetuate the essentiality of ourexistence.Now this existence is not what we call bodily existence. Though we mistakenlyidentify our existence with the body, there is a subtle urge within us to exceed or gobeyond the limitations of our bodily existence, which is the reason why we ask formore and more things, accumulate more and more objects, and externally expand themagnitude of our being. And that is also why we ask for longevity.
  7. 7. We want to be perpetuated in time and expanded in space. This is our desire. Wehave only two desires,—to expand ourselves in space, and to perpetuate ourselves intime. So, this is what we are asking for in all our activities. We want to possess moreand more things, as much as possible—nay the entire space! We want to expand ourpersonality into spatial domination, and also for as long a time as possible—nottomorrow or the day after tomorrow, but endlessly. So, there is a desire for infinityand eternity that is present in us, of which we are not conscious. We foolishlyinterpret it as desire to exist in this body. This aspiration is asa. Thus, for betterment inour life, aspiration towards self-transcendence comes even prior to self-existence.Therefore, Sanatkumara here says to Narada: “Asa must be your object of meditation,not merely your limited self-existence. There is something which is implied in yourconsciousness of self-existence. That implication should become the content of yourconsciousness, and therefore, the object of your meditation.”VII-xiv-2: ‘He who worships aspiration as Brahman, by aspiration all his wishes prosper, his prayers become infallible. He is free to act as he wishes in the sphere within the reach of aspiration, he who worships aspiration as Brahman’. ‘Revered sir, is there anything greater than aspiration?’ ‘Surely, there is something greater than aspiration’. ‘Revered sir, communicate it to me’.Our aspirations shall be fulfilled. No desire can go unfulfilled. If our aspiration is fora high thing, that also shall come. So, we should leave off our lower aspirations andrise beyond the limits of bodily existence, and reach up to the higher implications ofthis self-existence which we are. To that extent will be our success and our freedom.“This is very great and grand. Is there something more than this?” asks Narada.Endlessly Narada goes on asking questions, and limitlessly answers are being given.“There is something greater than this aspiration for self-transcendence, and that is theprinciple of life,” replies Sanatkumara. “Then kindly instruct me on that principle oflife,” says Narada. ************ Chapter VII, Section 15 LifeVII-xv-1: ‘Prana surely is greater than aspiration. Just as the spokes of the wheel are fastened to the nave, so is all this fastened to this Prana? Prana moves by Prana, Prana gives Prana and it gives Prana. Prana is the father, Prana is the
  8. 8. mother, Prana is the brother, Prana is the sister, Prana is the preceptor, Prana is the Brahmana.Nobody can understand what life is. We utter the word ‘life’ many times, but wecannot explain what it means. It is not what we do daily that is called life. Though wegenerally identify life with our activity, it is a mistake that we commit. Life issomething inscrutable. Life is really what we are. Here, it is called prana. It is not thebreathing process, but the life principle itself, without which there would be neitheraspiration, nor self-consciousness, nor anything for that matter.The entry of the universal into the particular is the juncture which is called lifeoperating in our personality. It is the borderland of the infinite, where the individualexpands into the expanse of the infinite and the infinite contracts itself into the finite, asit were. This particular junction is what we call life. It has the characteristics of both. “Beyond all things, superior to all that I have told you up to this time, is life,” saysSanatkumara. As spokes are fixed to the nave of a wheel, so is everything fixed to theprinciple of life. Whatever there is in this world, anything worthwhile, meaningful thatis nothing but prana, life? Minus life, everything is meaningless.What do we mean by saying “He is my father”, “She is my mother”, “She is my sister”,“and He is my brother”? We do not know. We are not referring to the body as father,mother, sister and brother. There is something else in them and that is the father, themother, the brother, the sister, and so on. We ourselves do not know what we are whenwe speak about ourselves. Our importance vanishes when the life principle iswithdrawn. We are valuable only so long as we are living. If we have no life, what arewe? We are nothing. What we regard ourselves in worldly parlance, viz., the body, isnot our real personality.VII-xv-2: ‘If one answers something harsh to his father, mother, brother, sister, preceptor or a Brahmana, people say this to him, "Fie on you! You are indeed a slayer of your father, you are indeed a slayer of your mother, you are indeed a slayer of your brother, you are indeed a slayer of your sister, you are indeed a slayer of your preceptor, you are indeed a slayer of a Brahmana."Why do we say that life is superior to everything, and minus life everything isvalueless? The Upanishad says that if one speaks irreverently to one’s father, forinstance, people would say, “How stupid this person is; he talks irreverently to his ownfather.” Similarly, if a person speaks something harsh to his mother, to his relatives, andto revered persons, good people censure him. We revere great people, we valuehumanity and we respect life in this world. This is something well-known to us. “Fieupon you,” say people when we talk irreverently to elderly ones or behave in a stupidmanner which would not be becoming of one in a human society.
  9. 9. And if we behave in such a way in respect of elders, they say that it is like slayingthem, or injuring them. We say, “Do not hurt people.” What do we mean by this?Hurting whom? Hurting people! But what is ‘people’? Surely not the body! TheUpanishad here implies that we are enjoined not to hurt the life in them.The life principle in a person is affected by our reaction to that person. Themanifestation of life principle in the embodiment of a particular person is what isreferred to as ‘a person’. A person is nothing but the life in that person, not the mereshape of that person in the form of a body.So, when we say that one has behaved in such and such a way with one’s father ormother, with one’s sister or brother, with this person or that person, we mean to saythat one has behaved in that way with the life principle present in them, not merelywith the body.But suppose the life principle has gone from the father that revered one whom wehave been worshipping. Then what happens? We simply set fire to that ‘father’, wethrow him, and we prick him with pokes in the funeral pyre. Then people do not say,“Oh, this man is burning his father.” Nobody says anything like that.So, what is our definition of mankind or humanity or any worthwhile thing in thisworld? Not the body certainly. If the body was our father, we would not set fire to himin the funeral pyre, and we would not prick him with pokes as if he means nothing.Even the dearest and the nearest ones are cast aside if the life principle withdraws itselffrom them.So, what we love as our relatives and our dear and near ones is the life, and not thebody. But we never understand this point. We say, “Oh, my father is no more.” Wherehas he gone? He is there in the way in which he was, but we mistook him for somethingelse. It is the principle of life that is valuable in this world, and not anything that ismanifest as name and form.VII-xv-3: ‘On the other hand, when the Prana has departed from them, even if one piles them together, dismembers them with a fork and burns them up, surely people would not say to him, "You are a slayer of your father", nor "you are a slayer of your mother", nor "You are a slayer of your brother", nor "You are a slayer of your sister", nor "you are a slayer of your preceptor", nor "You are a slayer of a Brahmana".The whole of life is nothing but this inscrutable thing which we call prana. This is thegreat reality manifesting itself in various names and forms. We mistake the names andforms for this Supreme Being which is masquerading here as the objects of sense, ashuman beings and everything else that we see with our eyes.
  10. 10. The supreme reality of every form of visible existence is life. It is manifested in somedegree in plants, in greater degree in animals, and in still greater degree in humanbeings, and it has to manifest itself in still greater degrees higher up. We have come to apoint where it is very difficult to understand where exactly we are. We are in aninscrutable realm. We cannot understand still as to what we are speaking about. Wethink we have understood what life is, but we have not understood what it really is.It is a mystery that is operating in all names and forms. Whoever understands thismystery as the all-comprehensive Reality which is superior to all names and forms,which is infused into all names and forms, which is the Reality of even the so-callednames and forms, including the name and form of our own self, is a master ofKnowledge. He is called in this Upanishad as ativadi, a specific term here indicating onewho possesses surpassing knowledge and whose utterances are surpassingly true.VII-xv-4: ‘Prana indeed becomes all these. He, indeed, who sees thus, thinks thus and knows thus, becomes a surpassing speaker. If someone were to say to him, "You are a surpassing speaker", he should say, "Yes, I am a surpassing speaker", he should not deny it.The greatest knowledge is the knowledge of life, not merely the knowledge ofobjects of sense. Whoever sees this Reality as it is in itself, whoever can think in thismanner, whoever can understand in this way, transcends all, because here theknowledge has gone beyond all objects of sense. It has comprehended them in its ownBeing. And, therefore, it has become one with Truth.It is not merely a pursuit of truth that we are referring to here as knowledge, butTruth itself that has become one with knowledge. A person who has such knowledgehas really comprehended Truth, and what he speaks in such a stage of knowledge iscalled ativada. This term ativada means transcended speech, speech which is pregnantwith truth, speech which is to materialize in life as truthfulness.Whatever a person with this knowledge speaks will get materialized in life, becausethe truth or the reality of all things is contained in the knowledge which this personhas. Therefore, speech being an expression of one’s thought and knowledge, whateverone utters becomes true in this stage of experience. And if people cannot understandhim and they say to him, “You are speaking something which we cannot understand.”Then he must say, “Yes, I speak something which you cannot understand, because thisis a matter which is not supposed to be understood by your mind.”Here, we are not in the realm of understanding of objects of sense, but we are in therealm of Being with things. So, one who is capable of attuning himself with the Beingof the objects, alone can understand what the truth of this exposition is. It is true whenthe Upanishad speaks like this; it speaks what one cannot understand. Neither is it
  11. 11. intended to be understood by the layman whose mind has not been adequatelytransformed, because here we are being led gradually from mere sensation andperception, from mentation and understanding, to the intuition of objects, wherein theobjects become one with the knowing perceiver, knowing reality—the Subject.At this stage, Narada is unable to speak. His breath is held up, as it were. He does notknow what he is hearing from this great master. This master observes the silence of thedisciple who now does not say as on previous occasions, “Please let me know ifsomething more is there.” He keeps quiet, his mouth is hushed and his mind hasstopped thinking. He does not know what to speak. Seeing this, the master himselfstarts pursuing the subject further without being accosted by the disciple. ************ Chapter VII, Section 16 TruthVII-xvi-1: ‘But he really speaks surpassingly who speaks surpassingly with truth’. ‘Revered sir, being such, I would speak surpassingly with truth’. ‘But one must desire to understand the truth’. ‘Revered sir, I desire to understand the truth’.Transcendent speech is an expression of transcendent knowledge. And transcendentknowledge is that knowledge which is identical with transcendent truth. This is thepeak of experience, the peak of wisdom. Our speech should be based on the reality ofBeing. Only then it manifests itself as reality. Truth and knowledge are identical. Ourspeech becomes true, because our speech is based on the knowledge of the true.“Please initiate me into this mystery of acquiring that knowledge which is tuned up toReality, which is one with Being. Is it possible for me to have this knowledge?”“My dear Narada,” says Sanatkumara. “You want a knowledge which is tuned up withreality, but you must know what reality or truth is. Unless you know what truth is,how can you try to identify your knowledge with truth, or truth with knowledge?You must have a clear conception of what I mean by ‘truth’. Only then can you have anaspiration for identifying your knowledge with truth, knowing truth and speakingtruth.”“Then Master, I would like to know what truth is. Please tell me what truth is.” ************
  12. 12. Chapter VII, Section 17 Truth and UnderstandingVII-xvii-1: ‘When one understands, then alone does one declare the truth. Without understanding, one does not declare the truth. Only he who understands declares the truth. But one must desire to understand understanding.’ ‘Revered sir, I desire to understand understanding’.Again we are in a vicious circle of argument, as it were. You want to know what truthis. Truth has to be known as it is, and not as it appears. There are various types oftruth before us: One says, “This is true,” “That is true,” and “Everything is true.” But iseverything ultimately true? We must have a clear conception what ultimate truth is.“O Narada,” says Sanatkumara, “you can speak truth only when you know whattruth is; otherwise, how can you speak truth? But do you know what truth is? Truth isnot what you perceive as true in this empirical world. The whole world is not true. It isnot the ultimate truth. So, how can you say that anything in the world is true? Whateveryou speak is not true. You must know what is really true. When one knows what truthis, then one speaks truth.” Narada is instructed in this manner.An ignoramus cannot speak truth. Knowledge of truth is, therefore, very important.We have to know knowledge itself, because it is knowledge that comprehends truth.What is knowledge and what is truth? We are here entering into the difficult subject ofthe ultimate principle of our very life, knowledge and truth, jnana and satya. What istruth and what is knowledge,—this must be known. Without that no one can proceedfurther. ************ Chapter VII, Section 18 Thought and UnderstandingVII-xviii-1: ‘When one reflects, then alone does one understand. Without reflecting one does not understand. Only he who reflects understands. But one must desire to understand reflection.’ ‘Revered sir, I desire to understand reflection’.The word mati and similar other words used in these passages of the Upanishadcarry a meaning much more deep than what appears on the surface, because we aretreading upon forbidden land where the mind cannot easily reach, where things goalmost beyond and above our heads. We do not know what we are speaking and what
  13. 13. we are hearing. Such is the condition that is being explained here. Such is the state intowhich Narada is being initiated by Sanatkumara, the great master.There is something higher than this knowledge or aspiration for truth. What is that?It is the tendency of one’s being to move towards Reality. It is the very reason behindour aspiring for Reality. How do we know that Reality is to be known? Who put thisidea into our head? We say, “I must know God,” “I must search for Reality,” “I mustaspire for the Absolute.” How did this idea arise in our mind? There is a tendency inus to move towards the Reality. This tendency is prior to our consciousness ofReality. We cannot be conscious of this urge itself, because it is prior to everything else,even becoming conscious of anything. Nobody knows what this urge is and fromwhere it comes.We do not know how aspiration arises in our mind. It has not come due to ourefforts, because effort cannot be there without knowledge. But the question is, “Howhas this knowledge arisen?” It is God’s grace or we may call it the grace of theAbsolute, or the mysterious outcome of the very process of evolution which is egged onby some principle of which we have no idea and the purpose of which is far, far beyondour understanding.“So, Narada” says Sanatkumara, “beyond and prior to all that is in you including yourknowledge of reality, including your aspiration for it, behind everything, is a tendencyin you to move towards it. The mind will stop thinking completely, for it does not knowwhat to think at all if this tendency were not there. Only when this tendency, thisinclination of your total being towards the Reality is there, only then can you have anaspiration for Reality, not otherwise. This is the object of your meditation now.” “Thisis what I want. How is this possible? I want to have knowledge of this mystery that youare speaking of,” says Narada. ************ Chapter VII, Section 19 FaithVII-xix-1: ‘When one has faith, then alone does one reflect. Without faith, one does not reflect. Only he who has faith reflects. But one must desire to understand faith’. ‘Revered sir, I desire to understand faith’.Sraddha, faith in the existence of Reality, and the working of this tendency ofmovement of one’s being towards Reality are almost simultaneous. How do we knowthat Reality exists? That is a faith that is in our mind, introduced into us by the verytendency of Reality urging itself forward towards its own Self-realisation. This faith is
  14. 14. superior to thought and understanding. It is not what we call blind faith, but anirrepressible feeling in us that Reality is. It must be there. We do not have any doubtabout Its being.Mati and sraddha go together. So, Narada is told here, “This sraddha, faith in the veryexistence of Reality, is somehow to be taken as prior to mati, the consciousness of thetendency towards Reality working through your being, when this faith is present inyou. You have to differentiate ordinary faith from this superior faith that I am speakingof. It is almost a kind of realisation. Without this faith in you which is born oftremendous experience of a higher caliber, nothing else is possible.” Narada says: “Iwant this faith to be implanted in me, O great master.” ************ Chapter VII, Section 20 SteadfastnessVII-xx-1: ‘When one has steadfastness, then alone does one have faith. Without steadfastness, one does not have faith. Only he who has steadfastness has faith. But one must desire to understand steadfastness.’ ‘Revered sir, I desire to understand steadfastness.’When one has steadfastness in Reality, then this superior faith also comes. A personwho has steadfastness becomes one with the Reality, as it were, in his psychologicalbeing. This is called nishtha in this section. Sanatkumara says that when there is nishtha,there is sraddha, and when there is sraddha there is mati, the tendency in one to movetowards Reality.What exactly is this steadfastness referred to in this section? It is incapacity of themind to contemplate anything except Reality. If we think, we think only that;otherwise, nothing. The very function of the mind is set in tune with the nature ofReality so profoundly that we have virtually become that. This is the cause of the faithin us, and the working of the tendency in us towards Reality which we have mentionedalready.“I want to know what this nishtha is. O great master, kindly instruct me further,” saysNarada. ************
  15. 15. Chapter VII, Section 21 Activity (Self-Control, Kriti)VII-xxi-1: ‘When one acts, then alone does one become steadfast. Without acting, one does not become steadfast. Only on acting does one become steadfast. But one must desire to understand activity’. ‘Revered sir, I desire to understand activity’.All this is the effect of another important factor, kriti, self-control, that has either beenexercised by the aspirant or arisen in him automatically, whatever be the reason behindit. In other words, it is a withdrawal of consciousness from every kind of externalperception. This is a superior activity that he is performing. His attunement with thenature of Reality in contemplation is due to the self-control that he has exercised in hisbeing, which means to say that his senses have weaned themselves from their contactswith things outside, and he no longer regards the objects of sense as being outside theknowledge that he is aspiring for.So, self-control does not mean a pressure exerted upon the senses by force of will,but a spontaneous withdrawal of consciousness from its desire to externalize itself inrespect of outward things on account of the superior faith, on account of thisaspiration, on account of this knowledge.The individuality in us, the jivatva in us, the personality in us, the subject-ness thathas been responsible for our perception of the objects of sense, has become null andvoid automatically on account of consciousness ceasing to work in terms of objects ofsense. When the outside objects of sense cease to be, the subject also ceases to be. Whenone thing goes, its counterpart also goes.So, when the world has gone, the ‘you’ or the ‘I’ also is gone. There is nothing oneither side, neither on the object side nor on the subject side. This great achievement isprior to everything, transcendent to everything.“What is this great achievement of the human personality in respect of the ultimateAbsolute? Can I be enlightened a little further about this supreme achievement?How can I achieve this at all? What is this action of self-control that you are enjoiningupon me as preceding to every other activity conceivable?” asks Narada. ************
  16. 16. Chapter VII, Section 22 HappinessVII-xxii-1: ‘When one obtains happiness’, then alone does one act. Without obtaining happiness one does not act. Only on obtaining happiness does one act. But one must desire to understand happiness’. ‘Revered sir, I desire to understand happiness’. “Well, O Narada, I tell you, nothing can be done unless it is propelled by happiness.Everywhere you will find happiness is the object of every kind of aspiration, activity,desire or enterprise. You will find, prior to everything conceivable, there is thepresence of happiness. Everyone, irrespective of the character of one’s individuality,tries to be, to act and to conduct oneself in different ways, because of this happiness.You must know what happiness is. It is this that is the propelling force behindeverything in creation,” says Sanatkumara.The whole process of creation, manifestation and dissolution, evolution andinvolution, the entire activity of the cosmos is an urge of happiness. It is happinessthat is trying to recover its own consciousness and establish itself in its own pristine allcomprehensiveness. It is this that is called activity. It is this that is called enterpriseand aspiration. It is this that is also called cosmic evolution. Happiness is at the backof everything. Happiness alone is.Here, we have been taken gradually up to that point where it has been concluded thatevery effort is motivated by happiness. This is not merely a practical fact, but also apsychological truth. But the mere recognition of the presupposition of happiness behindevery kind of activity does not solve the problem of happiness, its location, itswhereabouts and the means of its acquisition.Normally in our workaday world, we are accustomed to think that happiness is anachievement, by means of an effort, in the direction of an object which is regarded asthe location of happiness.It is strange, no doubt, that different subjects endeavouring in the direction of happinesshave different objects wherein happiness is supposed to be lodged. It does not meanthat one and the same object or every perceiving subject is the house or abode of thehappiness of everyone. This is the irony of the whole affair. It seems to be present inevery object, inasmuch as every object is the target of the approach of some subject orthe other in this world, though it is true that no particular object can attract therecognition of all subjects at the same time. This is the reason behind a doubt that canarise in the mind as to where happiness lies.
  17. 17. Is it in me or is it in somebody or something else? If it is in the mind of the subjectmerely, as it is sometimes, no doubt, opined by psychologists, then there will be nopoint in the mind moving towards an object of sense for the acquisition of pleasure. Thevery fact that the mind is not satisfied with its own self and feels an obligation tomove towards something outside should be indication enough that something islacking in the mind itself.This lacuna in the mind is the cause for the movement of the mind towardssomething outside, searching for that which it is not able of discovering in its ownself. So, there seems to be a flaw in the doctrine that the mind alone is the source of allhappiness, because this doctrine is refuted by the very activity of the mind every day,which moves towards things other than its own self, viz., the objects in the worldaround us.But the other doctrine that the world is the source of happiness also seems to be refutedby a deeper analysis that no object seems to be capable of attracting the attention ofeveryone at the same time, nor even one and the same subject at all times. So, thereseems to be some mystery behind even the assumption of the presence of happinessin the objects outside.But it must be somewhere. It cannot be neither here nor there, because the whole worldof perceptional activity is a collaboration of the subject and object. And therefore, it hasto be either this way or that way. By mere empirical analysis it is difficult to find outwhere happiness lies, because a mathematical or arithmetical analysis of the situationwill lead us merely to the analysis of the mind inside and the objects outside. Thereis nothing else for us to discover in this world. But, we find that we cannot discover thehappiness in the mind, nor can we discover it in the object of sense.So, the question is where is happiness? A very stimulating answer comes to thisquestion from the great master Sanatkumara. It is not in the mind, nor is it in theobject, taken independently by themselves. Happiness cannot be bifurcated as aproperty of some particular finite thing in creation. If it is regarded as a property ofthe mind, it becomes a finite content. If it is regarded as a property of an object of sense,again it is finite in its nature. If you regard the abode of happiness as a blend of theobject and the subject in a finite manner, even then the joint action of two finites cannotamount to more than the finite. Two finites coming together cannot create anythingmore than a finite.A little larger magnitude, physically or spatially, may be added to the joint activity ofa subject and the object, but the finitude in the product of these two does not cease.Happiness cannot be regarded as finite, ultimately, because we are not satisfied withfinite pleasure in this world. No one asks for limited happiness, though logically itcannot be defined as to how it can be infinite.
  18. 18. The impulse from within which seeks for happiness is an answer to this question. Itanswers its own question by saying that no one is satisfied with any amount ofhappiness which is bounded by finitude of any kind. So, it is neither in the finiteobject, nor in the finite subject, merely because of the fact that the finite containercannot afford to lodge within itself that which exceeds the limit of finitude.So, Sanatkumara says, “My dear Narada, happiness is not anywhere and yet it iseverywhere; it is in a completeness of Being that you can find happiness.” It is not inany kind of accumulation of particulars that happiness can be found. It is not in anyaggregate of finitudes that happiness can be discovered.The finitude of a particular situation does not get obviated merely because of theaggregate of finitudes. Even millions and millions of finite objects put together do notcease to be finite in the end. The finitude which is the character of things persists evenin an aggregate of finitudes. Even the whole world put together is finite. It cannot beregarded as infinite, because it is limited by space, limited by time, and limited by thevery presence of inner discrepancy within its own self. So, what is there which is notfinite in this world? Nothing. Then where is happiness? Not in anything that can beconceived by the mind or perceived by the senses.Happiness cannot be in anything in this world, because everything in this world isfinite. Its definition, of course, defies ordinary mental cognition. It is the ‘spiritualfullness’ which philosophers call the Absolute, which the followers of religion call God,and which psychologists call the supreme Spirit. The infinite Reality that is behind allfinitudes, that alone can be regarded as complete by itself, because That alone isindependent of any kind of contact with the finitudes. That infinitude is the source ofhappiness whose reflection in some manner or other in the finite objects of sensebecomes responsible for our belief that happiness is in the objects outside. ************ Chapter VII, Section 23 The InfiniteVII-xxiii-1: That which is infinite, is alone happiness. There is no happiness in anything finite. The infinite alone is happiness. But one must desire to understand the infinite’. ‘Revered sir, I desire to understand the infinite’. “Happiness is plenum, happiness is completeness, happiness is the totality,happiness is in the Absolute,” declares the great master Sanatkumara. The term‘Bhuma’ used in this Upanishad is a novel word of its own kind which cannot be easilytranslated. It has a pregnant significance within itself which implies absoluteness in
  19. 19. quantity as well as in quality, an uncontaminated character, and permanency of everytype, immortality, infinity and eternity. All these ideas are embedded in the veryconcept of what the Upanishad calls ‘Bhuma’. Well, we can translate it in no other waythan to call it the Absolute Being. The Brahman of all the Upanishads is the same asthe Bhuma mentioned here in this Chandogya Upanishad. That alone is happiness.If that alone is happiness, why is it that we feel happiness in objects of sense? Theremust be some mystery behind the search for happiness in the objects of the world, if it istrue that they themselves do not contain happiness. “The finite things do not containhappiness,” says Sanatkumara, the master.If finite objects do not contain happiness and it is only in the Infinite, then how doyou explain the discovery of this happiness in the objects of sense? If it is absolutelyimpossible to discover it in objects, no person will go towards any object of sense. Thereason is that the presence of this Bhuma is felt in every object, in some mysteriousmanner. Existence as such of the object, as they say, is the reason behind the discoveryof happiness in the objects which are nothing but names and forms ultimately.There is something in the objects which is capable of indicating that behind them isthis reservoir of happiness. The indication is due to their creating a situation ofapparent completeness when they come in contact with the mind of the subject.Wherever there is a sensation of completeness, there is happiness. This completenessmay be artificially brought about. And then, there may be an apparently conceivedtotality, not a real one, or there may be a true one.Whatever it is, even a mere semblance of the experience of this completenessbecomes the source of the experience of happiness. The union, in whatever mannerthat be, between the seeking subject and object sought creates in the mind that isperceiving, cognizing, and searching; a sensation of having achieved its purpose. Andthis sensation, attended with a thought of consciousness of having achieved one’spurpose, brings about a stimulation within, which is characterised by a feeling ofcompleteness.A sensation of completeness, a feeling that something asked for has been obtained, isintroduced into the mind. This feeling is capable of lasting only for a fraction of amoment, because the mind cannot be satisfied with the idea that its purpose has beenfulfilled, merely because of contact with the object. It is induced into a false state offeeling, that the purpose has been served. And this state is momentary.The mind realises that a mistake has been committed unconsciously, and itwithdraws itself from this contact, hibernates itself into its own cocoon, searches foranother source of happiness, and finds itself in a state of misery all in one moment.
  20. 20. So, every experience of happiness in this world is passing, fleeting, transient andmomentary, of the character of a moment. It cannot last for long. No one hasexperienced happiness continuously because of the fact that there is an anxiety withinand these anxieties are brought about by certain suspicions arising in the mind, togetherwith the experience of this contact of itself with the object. The suspicions are broughtabout by the recognition that the contact is not actual union, because real union of thesubject with the object is different from mere contact, be it physical or evenpsychological.There is a flaw in every type of union. Every coming together ends in a separation,whatever that be, either in this world or in the other world. This is the reason whythere is only an apparent happiness in this world, in our coming in contact with thingsof the world. Even this apparent, momentary happiness is due to an awareness of thepresence of this Bhuma in a flash of a moment of experience.It is completeness of being that is the source of happiness. But where is thiscompleteness of Being? It is not in the objects of sense, not in the union of one and two,or in the union of many. Social union is no union at all. They are coming together in aphysical, psychological or social sense, no doubt, but they are not real union.Union is a real blend into a single Being. Whatever be the attempt of subjects in theircoming in contact with objects, they never become one Being. We have never seen twopersons becoming one, or two things becoming one, or a society of people merging intoa single personality. Such a thing has never been heard of, nor is it practicable. Untilthat is practicable, happiness also is not practicable.The search for happiness in this world is a search for the will-o’-the-wisp. It is thesearch for phantasmagoria of the concoction of one’s own mind. Not in the finite ishappiness to be found. The Absolute, Fullness alone is Bliss. “So I reiterate, O Narada,this is the truth. The total union of Being as such which I regard as Bhuma, that is thereal Bliss. So, I say once again that Bhuma, the Fullness, is Bliss. How can you enterinto this Bhuma unless you know what Bhuma is? You must, therefore, know whatFullness is,” says Sanatkumara.“O great Master, please tell me what this Bhuma is. Please introduce me to this greatmystery of Being that you call Bhuma. What is Bhuma? What is this Fullness? What isthis completeness? If it is not to be found in the union of things in this world, where elsecan I find it?” asks Narada. ************
  21. 21. Chapter VII, Section 24 The Infinite and the FiniteVII-xxiv-1: ‘In which one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, and understands nothing else that is infinite. But that in which one sees something else, hears something else, understands something else, is the finite. That which is infinite, is alone immortal, and that which is finite, is mortal’. ‘Revered sir, in what is that infinite established?’ ‘On its own greatness or not even on its own greatness’. “Do you want to know what Completeness is? And do you want to know whatfinitude is? Here is the definition,” says Sanatkumara. “Where one sees nothingexcept one’s own Self, where one hears nothing except one’s own Self, where oneunderstands nothing except one’s own Self, that is Bhuma, the Absolute; and whereone sees something outside oneself, where one hears something outside oneself, whereone understands or thinks something outside oneself, that is the finite.”So, here is the whole matter clinched in a single sentence, describing what Fullness isand what not-fullness is. What is immortal is the Bhuma alone, and what you callmortal or perishable, is the finite.“O great master, where is the Bhuma situated? Which place?” asks Narada.“You ask me where it is situated, this great eternal All-Presence! It is situated in Itsown Glory. Well, or perhaps, It has no situation at all,” replies the master. “It cannotbe that It is located in something else, that It is dependent on something else, that Ithas something else as its support, just as we have some support or the other in thisworld.How can the All-Being be supported by something else! It is the support of all things.What is this strange question that you are putting to me? Its support is Its own Self.Rather I say It has no support, for It is the support of all. What do you mean bysupport? What is the meaning of this question, ‘Where is it located, where is itsituated?’ You have got some wrong notion in your mind, Narada, because you arethinking in terms of objects in this world.”VII-xxiv-2: ‘Here in this world people call cows and horses, elephants and gold, servants and wives, fields and houses, "greatness". I do not speak thus (of greatness), for in that case one thing would be established in another. What I do say is thus:
  22. 22. People in this world regard cattle and horses as greatness itself. A man is very rich,well supported and sustained if he has plenty of cattle, plenty of horses, elephants, andgold, if he has plenty of servants, attendants, palatial buildings, vast property, and abeautiful house to live in. This is called a well-to-do life in this world. This is calledgood support; this is called sustenance. Not so is this Bhuma supported. It does notrequire any of these things for Its support. Its being is not dependent on anything that isof the nature of support in this world.“I am not speaking of the Absolute in the sense that you have in your mind, thinkingthat it requires something else to lean upon,” says the master. The relativity of things isthe support of things in this world. Everything hangs on something else in thisworld. I hang on you, and you hang on me. That is how we live in this world.But, no such hanging is possible in the Bhuma. It is self-sufficient, self-supported, self-complete and self-existent. It is not any relative being. It is the absolute Being. Whileeverything in this world is relative in the sense that everything is supported bysomething else, everything is defined by something else, everything is determinedby the existence of something else, but Bhuma does not exist in this sense. It isabsolutely independent. Therefore, It is non-relative in every sense of the term. It iseverywhere. It is difficult to say where It is, because the question ‘where’ implies theexistence of space.“O my dear Narada, your question itself is unfounded and unwarranted. Why do youask where It is, as if It is in space? But if you want me to tell you where It is, I say It is inspace, It is in every nook and corner, in every pinpoint of space. There is no spacewhere It is not; there is no space which It does not occupy.” ************ Chapter VII, Section 25 The Ego and the SelfVII-xxv-1: ‘That infinite alone is below. That is above. That is behind. That is in front. That is to the south. That is to the north. That alone is all this. So, next is the teaching in regard to the self-sense. I alone am below. I am above. I am behind. I am in front. I am to the south. I am to the north. I alone am all this.“If you go down below, you will find It. If you go above, you will find It there. If you gobehind, you will find It there, also. If you go in front of you, It is there. To the right ofyou, It is there. To the left of you, It is there. O Narada, what can I tell you about It? Thewhole cosmos is filled by It. It is not merely feeling that It is everything. It is
  23. 23. everything. All these things that you see with your eyes are nothing but configurationsof Its own Being. Are you satisfied?”Now, a doubt may arise in the minds of people. Grammatically the word ‘It’ impliesthird person. Is It then a third person other than me? No, it is the subject only thatdoubts thus. The subject that imagines that It is perhaps a third person, is also includedin It. The thinking subject also is that very thing which we have referred to as theBhuma. It is not merely the transcendental. Just as we can say, “It is all things”, “It ishere”, “It is there”, “It is everywhere”, even so, the subject also can be said to beeverywhere—“I am here”, “I am there”, and “I am everywhere.”But here again a doubt may arise: what is this ‘I’? Is it the individual ‘I’, the ego? Is itthe empirical subject, asserting itself as the all? No, the Atman in the subject is thatwhich is identical with the Bhuma that is cosmic. So, a distinction is to be drawnbetween the individual subject and the subject-ness universally present behind theindividualities. That is called the Atman.So, it is not the jiva that is identified with the Bhuma here, but the Atman, even asthey say the space within a vessel is identical with the space in the universe outside.There is no distinction between a pot space or the space in a tumbler and the spaceoutside, because the distinctions that we create are imaginary. Really no two thingsexist as inner space and outer space. So, is this identity of the Atman with Bhuma. Ifthere is any kind of doubt that it may be the ahamkara, the individual subject that isimplied here, in order to remove that the teacher says:VII-xxv-2: ‘So now is the teaching through Atman. Atman alone is below. Atman is above. Atman is behind. Atman is in front. Atman is to the south. Atman is to the north. Atman alone is all this. Verily, he it is who sees thus, and understands thus, has pleasure in Atman, delight in Atman, union in Atman, joy in Atman. He becomes Self-sovereign; he becomes free to act as he wishes in all the worlds. But those who know otherwise than this are ruled by others and live in perishable worlds; they are not free to act as they wish in all the worlds. “The universal is also the Atman in all things. It is the essential subject of everything.So, that which is cosmically present as the total object is also the total subject. It is thesubject and object at one stroke, in a universal sense. This is what I mean by Bhuma.Here only is happiness, nowhere else. What else can be said? Whatever is required, allthat has been said. O Narada, what more can I tell you? One who has such realisationor knowledge as this that I have mentioned to you just now,—one who can see thingsin this manner, think in this manner, or understand in this manner as I haveexpounded just now,—such a person is the most happy person conceivable. Such a
  24. 24. person is delighted within his own Self, such a person plays with his own Self, such aperson enjoys his own Self, and such a person is rooted in the bliss of his own Self.”Now, what is this ‘own Self’? It is not my-self. It is not your-self. It is not the bodilyself. It is not the individual self. It is the Universal Being, the All-Being, the All-Presence, Bhuma. This is what is called the Self. And when we say the person enjoyshimself, it is the Absolute that is enjoying Itself. That is what we are speaking about,and not Mr. So-and-so, not this person or that person enjoying. This is a very greatdistinction that we have to draw when we try to understand these passages of a highlymystical character.A person of this nature endowed with this knowledge, acquiring this realisation,becomes a master of himself, which means to say a master of all things. Self-masteryis mastery of the universe. He becomes Self-emperor, Self-king, ruling over the Self. Torule over the Self is to rule over everything that has the Self within itself, and thisSelf is everywhere. So, he rules over everything everywhere. It is cosmic ruler-ship thatis intended by the word ‘self-kingship’. It is Universal Lordship. It is the experience ofGod-Being.Such is the experience that is bestowed upon this blessed Soul who has entered intothe bosom of this knowledge, this realisation, and this experience. This person canenter into every realm at any moment. Just as you can move from one room to anotherroom of your house without any kind of impediment or obstruction, as you are the freemaster of your own house, so does this soul acquiring this knowledge enter into everyplane of existence? Every realm of being becomes a free passage to this great one whohas acquired this knowledge. He becomes possessed of cosmic freedom.But what about those people who do not have this knowledge? They are subjected byother people and controlled by them. They are limited from all sides. It is they that takerebirth by pressure of circumstances.Whoever imagines that there are things outside one’s own self, he is naturallycontrolled by those things which are outside him. If one is living in a world ofexternalities, those externals shall compel one to subjugation to their own laws andmandates. This cannot be escaped. They are not Self-kings, which means to say thatkings are outside them and they themselves are not kings. They are subjects and notkings. Their worlds are perishable.Whatever they get in this world is mere dust and ashes. They only reap sorrow in thisworld. They cannot get happiness, because they live in a world of finitude. They cannothave free entry into other worlds. They are limited to the circle of their own experience.These are the jivas, the bound souls who are bereft of this great knowledge we arespeaking of.
  25. 25. Chapter VII, Section 26 The Primacy of SelfVII-xxvi-1: Verily, for him alone, who sees thus, reflects thus and understands thus, Prana springs from Atman, aspiration from Atman, memory from Atman, Akasa from Atman, fire from Atman, water from Atman, appearance and disappearances from Atman, food from Atman, strength from Atman, understanding from Atman, contemplation from Atman, intelligence from Atman, will from Atman, mind from Atman, speech from Atman, name from Atman, hymns from Atman, rites from Atman, all this (springs) from Atman alone.To such a blessed one everything comes, rises from his own Self. He need not gohither and thither in search of things, because he has this knowledge. He does nothave to go to things, but things go to him. The ocean does not go to the river; the rivergoes to the ocean.Whoever is endowed with this great experience, this knowledge, the possession ofthis wisdom, for such a person everything that has been mentioned in the gradation ofthe categories earlier, right from ‘name’ onwards up to the point we are discussing now,arises automatically from his own Self, because the supreme cause contains within itselfeverything else mentioned as its own effects.All these worlds, space, time and the five elements, all created beings, everythingthat we have been studying up to this time in the various stages of development ofthought,—all this need not be approached separately or individually for satisfaction.They all come simultaneously rising from his own Self, the true Self, the Bhuma,because that Self being all, contains all, and therefore, all things come to that personwho ceases to be an individual person any more. He is only a lodgment, apparentlylooking like a person in this world. He is a Jivanmukta, as they call him. He is really arepository of the absoluteness that he has realised. Everything comes to him; everythingflows from his own being, because he himself is the all.VII-xxvi-2: ‘There is this verse about it: "He who sees this does not see death or illness or any sorrow. He who sees this sees all things and obtains all things in all ways." ‘He is one, becomes threefold, fivefold, sevenfold and also nine fold. Then again he is called the eleven fold, also a hundred-and-ten-fold and also a thousand-and twenty-fold. ‘’When nourishment is pure, reflection and higher understanding become pure. When reflection and higher understanding are pure, memory becomes strong. When memory becomes strong, there is release from all the knots of the heart. The revered Sanatkumara showed to Narada, after his impurities had been washed off,
  26. 26. the further shore of darkness. People call Sanatkumara as Skanda – yea, they call him Skanda.The chapter is here concluded. The Bhuma-Vidya has been expounded. One who hasthis realisation is free from every kind of affliction—physical, mental or otherwise.To him there is no death, no transmigration and no sorrow. No grief, no adhibhautika,adhyatmika, adhidaivika sorrow can afflict this person. Becoming all, this person sees theall. Having known this, he knows the all, because he is the all.Everything is attained at one stroke, not in succession as we hear of in this world. Inevery manner everything comes to him. Things come to us only in certain ways, not inevery way. All things do not come to us at the same time. Certain things alone come tous, not all things. And even those certain things come to us at some times, not all times.And even at those times, they come not in every way but only in a certain manner. Butin his case, everything comes at all times, in every way. This is the great result thatfollows from this realisation.Interpreters of the Upanishad try to find a specific intention behind these numbers.They say that It is one-fold as the one, non-dual Being. It is threefold, being adhyatmika,adhibhautika and adhidaivika or the three elements fire, water and earth. It is fivefold asthe senses can catch, and sevenfold as the constituents of the body. It is nine-fold as thefive sense-organs and the four subdivisions of the mind. It is eleven-fold as the tenorgans and the mind. It is hundred and tenfold, and a thousand and twentyfold, whenIt includes many other categories. All these things are comprehended within this singleBeing.The manifoldness mentioned here is merely a categorizing of this singleness of Beingthrough the channels of perception and experience in various manifestations, —human, celestial, subhuman, etc. As is the nature of the incarnation, so is the nature ofperception and experience. So, all these categories are consumed by this single Being.What you call the inanimate world or the vegetable kingdom or the animal world, whatyou call the human level and superior worlds of celestials right up to Brahma-loka,—allthese are comprehended within this single Reality in which there are no different levelsof Being. It has no inanimate or animate category there. It has no distinction of subjectand object, and It is the seer as well as the seen. This knowledge comes if your effort isproperly directed. It does not suddenly drop from the sky, like a fruit that falls from thebranch of a tree. Great effort is needed to acquire this knowledge.Purity of thought is a consequence of purity of diet. Here, some people are of theopinion that it means that we must take pure food—sattvik diet. But other thinkersopine that if you think wrongly and see evil things, even if you eat good pure food ascow’s milk, fruits, etc., it is not going to help you.
  27. 27. So, Shankaracharya particularly is of the opinion that it is an exhortation to receivepure things through every sense-organ including the mind. We must see purity; hearpurity, and touch purity, think purity, and sense purity. And what is purity? Purity isthat which is compatible with the nature of the Absolute. This alone is purity.What is that which is compatible with the nature of the Absolute and what is not?Whenever we cognize a thing, perceive a thing, that thing should, from the point ofview of our cognition or perception, be capable of being harmonized with the Absolute.We should not be incompatible with nature. That thing alone is purity, and when thatpurity arises in the mind, there will be that capacity of concentration of mind whichretains the consciousness of the Bhuma. That is the perpetual retention of memory, thesmriti which this mantra mentions. We can never forget the Being, the Absolute in ourown Being.Then all granthis, the knots of the heart, get broken. The knots of the heart are avidya,kama and karma—ignorance, desire-full movement of the mind, and activity towardsthe fulfillment of desire. Sometimes they are called brahma-granthi, vishnu-granthi andrudra-granthi, all meaning one and the same thing, viz., the ties of the mind, thepsychological knots by which we are tethered to earthly experience. They breakimmediately, and we enter into the ocean of Being.Thus, Sanatkumara, the great master, initiates Narada who is free from all impurity ofevery kind, a fit disciple to be instructed by an exceptionally great master, into thisgreat mystery of the Supreme Being, and takes the disciple across the ocean of sorrow.“This Sanatkumara,” says the Upanishad “is called Skanda.”Sanatkumara is called Skanda, because he has crossed or leaped over thephenomenal existence, which is one interpretation of the word ‘Skanda’. There is alsoa story that Sanatkumara himself was born as Skanda or Kartikeya, the second son ofLord Siva, for the purpose of fulfilling a great purpose of the gods, as we read from thePuranas and epics. Whatever it is, we take the great master either as that divinity thattook birth as Skanda in the next incarnation, or one who has crossed the ocean ofsorrow, jumped into the Absolute across the phenomenality of life. To that divineperson is our obeisance. He is Skanda,—he has reached the Absolute, and he takes usto the Absolute. ************

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